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Before the first Fantastic Beasts movie ever came out J.K. Rowling revealed it would be the first of five films. While one might have assumed that this meant the author just had a vague plan, Rowling says that, as she did with the Harry Potter novels, the entire story arc is already set out. While the screenplays haven't all been written, Rowling knows what's going to happen in every film. According to the writer...
As with the Harry Potter books, it is all mapped out. In fact, when we announced the five films, I talked about that. It's always possible that some details will change along the way, but the arc of the story is there. It's been an amazing opportunity to tell parts of the backstory that never made it into the original books. I'm thinking particularly of one character that I think fans will be surprised to meet in this movie.
Several aspects of the Fantastic Beasts storyline were first referenced in the original Harry Potter novels. Names like Newt Scamander and Gellert Grindelwald were dropped in those novels and while J.K. Rowling mentions that some aspects of the backstory of the Wizarding World were dealt with then, she implies that she had much more of it created that didn't make it in those books.
J.K. Rowling famously had the last chapter of the last Harry Potter novel written long before the rest of the series, as she knew how the story of the boy wizard would end back when it began. While Rowling doesn't admit to Entertainment Weekly that she's already written the last scene of the last movie, she does imply that she knows what that scene is.
Of course, that doesn't mean that J.K. Rowling has already figured out every single detail of the story. Just recently Rowling tweeted that she was having some difficulty figuring out some nebulous aspect of the plot, and while she apparently was able to figure it out, this does go to show that not everything about the broader story is crystal clear.
Having the general storyline of all five movies more or less planned out in advance at least has the potential to make the movies themselves better. If you want to foreshadow events that will happen later in the franchise or simply make sure that continuity holds together, that's much easier if you have a clear idea of where things will be going. It's even possible that aspects of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that we didn't realize will be important will become so in The Crimes of Grindelwald. We'll find out next month.